Chris Carter on the Kevin & Bean Show
KROQ 106.7FM Los Angeles
[Transcribed by Keyg]
B: Bean (recently moved to Seattle and co-hosts from his home)
L: Lisa (third co-host/traffic reporter)
K: This is the world-famous KROQ, 106.7 K-R-O-Q. Kevin and Bean Show at 8:12.
B: I don’t know if this is true or not, maybe I’m just assuming, but I like to think that we’re a good luck charm for Chris Carter. That’s why he comes in to see us every time he has a new project.
K(laughing): I’m sure that’s it.
B: With each new launch.
K: …I’m sure that’s it. Chris, welcome.
C: Thank you very much.
K: Always glad to have you on KROQ.
B: Chris, I’m glad I’m in Seattle now cause I don’t have to go down and do that thing in your car like you always make me do. (laughing)
B: Ya know what I mean?
Lisa(laughing): …tgeez, Bean, hehheheheh…
B: …it’s nice. How, uh, how you been? What cha been up to?
C: Uh, you know, I’m working hard, I’m doing X-Files and this new show, Harsh Realm. So, uh, plenty of work, that’s for sure.
B: …plenty of work. That’s the thing about you. You never seem to take a vacation for very long.
C(laughing): No, I don’t.
K: Wh– H-How– Why?
C: Uh, you know, it’s–
K: Take the business when it’s good or–
C: –Contracts and you– You ride the wave till it crashes.
K: Yeah. And when it crashes, are you gonna go, “Wooo. That was a hell of a ride.”
C(laughing): …probably so…
B: Maybe you ought to just start making crappier shows. (laughing)
B: I mean, that would get you out of the contracts faster.
C(laughing): That’s the Hollywood way.
B: Yeah. You could just relax. You could go, “All right, I tanked that one, now if I could tank one more, then I’m free.”
K: Now, let’s start, let’s start with The X-Files. Cause there’s a lot of X-Files, uh, talk about Duchovny not being around, blahblahblah… You still have two more years of The X-Files. Is that right?
C: Uh, we don’t know. Uh, this could be the last year of The X-Files. There’s– There’s lots of stuff that, uh, needs to be decided before we can really, uh, make that decision.
K: And what is some of that stuff?
C: You know, there’s– There’s contracts. I don’t have a contract. David doesn’t have a contract. Gillian has one more year left in her contract. Uh, but, uh, you know, there’s this, uh, this lawsuit hanging out there. So things need to be resolved right now.
B: Now, the lawsuit is, uh, is Mr. Duchovny has actually sued you.
C(laughing): whoops,uh (laughing)
C: No, he’s not– I’m– I’m actually not–
B: You’re not named.
C: No. no.
B: It’s the suits.
K: He sued… What’s the story? He sued Fox for selling it?
C: It’s a contractual dispute. So it’s, uh, you know, it’s– business. Heheh.
K: That you can’t talk about.
K: All right. I understand.
B: But here’s the thing though. If the show is going off the air after this coming season — I would imagine you’re already several episodes in to the new season, right?
C: Yeah. Uh, yes.
B: So you’re going to have to start wrapping up some loose ends over the next ten episodes that you write or whatever it is.
C: Yeah. We have to kind of decide sooner or later, probably, you know, round middle of, uh… first of the year, uh, you know, what we want to do, uh, if this is going to be the last season and to wrap up the Mulder, you know, mythology, uh, to do with the sister and stuff.
K: I know you’re gonna– That’s the plan, if this is the last year, you’re going to wrap up all–
C: Well, no. Heheheh.
K: Cause if you tease, to wait for a movie, I’m going to have to beat you up.
L(laughing): And yet I sense that’s exactly where he’s going. Yeah.
K: That’s the thing, right? You’re still planning on doing movies.
C: Yeah. Well, that’s the big, you know, uh, hope is that we can turn this TV series into a movie series.
B: Like they did with the Star Trek
K: Next Generation.
C: Yeah, sort of like that.
B: What do you hope happens, Chris? How would you like to see it play out?
C: I don’t know right now because, uh, (laughing) it’s, uh, what is it, October, and we’re already, you know, just scraping the Christmas to get two weeks there and to scrape to April to finish the work, so right now, all I’m trying to do is to make this season good. Um… You know–
K: You tired of it?
C: No, I’m not tired of it. Actually, what’s the great thing about X-Files and, I hope, about Harsh Realm is that they are really good vehicles for telling stories, and so you never get tired of that cause if something works, it makes it fun, it makes it fun to write for the…
K: But don’t you just sit there sometimes and go, “All right, let’s see, I used bees in the movie…”
K: “…and I got the alien with this and that, and there’s people who can tell the future, and… I come out.”
B: I think Chris has twelve hundred post-it notes on his refrigerator.
B: That’s what I think. And that’s how he keeps all the plotlines straight.
K: You ever come to a point where you think, “I can’t think of another interesting idea.”
C: You don’t because, uh, what you realize is when you really start to think about it, it’s kind of limitless, you really could go on forever, but it does get harder– Your mind– Sort of easy subjects and genre, uh, but, uh, I think, actually, the stories get better as you go because it’s stuff nobody’s ever thought of.
K: And do you feel that you’re getting stronger as a writer working this hard at it for so long?
C: You– You develop by the instincts, and you start to trust them more.
B: It also does help when you get to a point where the, uh, the characters are so well established that you can do a lot of things with them that the audience will understand.
C: Right. Uh, so, there’s a lot of shorthand, and you– Actually, the thing about a show like The X-Files is that it’s very elastic, you know, it can parody itself, it can make fun of itself, in a way that, uh, only a show that feels confident of itself can do.
K: I’ll tell you what’s cool is that you are good at writing those moments that blow people away. And one of those moments is one of my favorite movie moments from the X-Files movie when the guy sits down in front of the Coke machine and just sits there till it explodes.
K: I mean, that kind of thing is just great.
C: Yeah. yeah.
K: Is that part of the fun of writing a series like this or…
C: It is. Of course, you can’t do that on TV, so you know, you have to wait until the movies to do, you know, the real, uh, good stuff.
K: Do you have an idea of what the next movie is uh…
C: Yeah, we have an idea. We want to do a stand-alone, just really good scary movie not something that’s tied into the mythology of the show.
K: oh really
B: Can Gillian Anderson be a Catholic school girl who smells her armpits?
K: That’s already taken care of. That’s “Superstar.”
B: Oh yeah, that’s right. That’s the Saturday Night Live movie. I’m sorry.
K: What does that look like?
B: …bad thing…
K: Let me ask you two more casting things about The X-Files then we’re going to move on to the new show. One is we heard Lance, our friend, Lance Henriksen from–
K: –late of “Millennium”–
K: –is going to be on The X-Files in some capacity. Is that true?
C: He’s going to play Frank Black on an episode of The X-Files that actually, uh, is our millennium (laughing) episode. So we actually get to sort of wrap up that character and, uh, something very significant is going to happen on New Year’s, as you might imagine, between Mulder and Scully.
K: oh, interesting…
B: That really, uh– It occurs to me, although we haven’t seen you officially since “Millennium” was pulled off the schedule by Fox, but that really sucked that they didn’t give you another six months to actually carry it through to May of 2000 which was such a central point for the program.
C: Yeah, uh… The show went three years and it wasn’t really a big ratings getter, so I was happy to have it on for that long. But, you know, uh, it would have been a tough year to do that show because the climate, right now, is very sensitive, uh, to, uh, that kind of drama.
B: Yeah, I was going to ask you what you thought about that because– We haven’t even talked about this on the show– but you probably know that NBC has this movie that is going to portray a whole host of end-of-the-world problems–
B: — with the electricity going out, the ATM machines not working, and people looting. And they have just been lambasted by people who say how irresponsible it would be to put that on the air prior to the millennium and kind of get everybody worked into a frenzy. Do you run into situations often where you kind of can’t tell a story because of what the audience will do?
C(laughing): No. That’s exactly what I want to do, uh, is I want to, you know, create hysteria.
K: That’s why you’re our kind of guy.
B: You’re going to whip everybody into a needless frenzy as much as possible. And Terry O’Quinn, who is also from “Millennium”, he’s going to be on The X-Files this year, too, right?
C: Yeah. Terry O’Quinn, uh, actually, yeah, right, he was on the X-Files Season Two, I believe, and, uh, then had a reoccurring part on “Millennium”, and was actually in the X-Files movie too, so he’s now a big part of our show.
B: He is one of the most underrated actors on television. That guy should be a huge star. He is great.
C: He is great. My– My wife has a big thing for him.
K: Oh, is that right.
B: Mine– Mine too.
K: …doesn’t everyone. All right, Chris Carter is in the studio. We do need to take a quick break. But when we come back, you have a brand new series that debuts tonight.
K: It’s called “Harsh Realm”. And we’ll find out all about it when we come back on KROQ.
K: This is the world-famous KROQ, 106.7 K-R-O-Q. It is the Kevin and Bean Show at 8:27.
B: play the music now [music]
B: There it is. That’s the theme song for a show that you’ll see for the first time on the FOX network tonight, 9 o’clock. It’s called “Harsh Realm”. Our friend, Chris Carter, is in the studio. He created the show. And, uh, we talked to D.B. Sweeney, one of the stars, a couple of days ago, and, let me tell you, the way that he described it, sounds pretty ‘f’ed up.
K: I’m gonna describe it from what I remember. There’s video games and the guy gets sucked in and somehow his subconscious fights the battle and he’s in a coma…
L(laughing): Kevin, that’s pretty bad.
K: What the hell’s going on with that show, Chris?
B: It’s an alternative universe, right, Chris?
C: …another dimension.
L: …virtual reality.
K: Explain it to us.
C: Well, it’s a, uh, it’s like a virtual reality game where you plug your mind in to it, and, uh, then you are virtually in it, and, uh, everything’s real, uh, and the consequences to every action is real. So it’s a duplicate, or parallel, of this world.
K: And you’re– I think he explained it, you’re in a coma–
K: –when you’re in the game–
K: –cause your mind is not here.
C: Yes, you’re laying on a slab.
K: Dude, that’s pretty cool.
B: Here’s what we were trying to figure out — and I think we asked D.B. this, but I’m not sure what he said — are there any kind of– If you do something in the real world, does it affect the alternate universe and vice versa?
C: Uh, yeah, there’s consequences for action on both sides. We’ll learn as, uh, as the show progresses, we’ll learn that, actually, Harsh Realm may be all that exists in the end.
K: All right, let’s say that they take my mind, and they put me in to Harsh Realm and I get, uh, my left arm cut off.
K: Then what happens in real life? Is my left arm gone?
C: No, your left arm is not gone.
C: But uh–
L: But it hurts like hell?
C: It hurts like hell.
K: Where did this idea come from? Is this a comic book?
C: Yeah, there’s a comic book called “Harsh Realm”, but we just kind of took the title, and then, uh, went from there, really.
K: And where did the idea come from? Have you always wanted to do something with the virtual reality?
C: I’m interested in the virtual reality, and the funny thing is, we were making the show, and we kept seeing trailers for this really cool thing called “The Matrix”.
C: So, obviously, other people are interested in it too. But it’s a good way to tell stories, and it’s not a new way of telling stories, it’s telling stories about another dimension, a parallel dimension, which is equivalent to ours where you have a double, and, uh, these are sort of staples of science fiction.
K: So we all have doubles.
C: Yeah. Kevin and Bean are in Harsh Realm.
K: Are they funny in that realm?
C: Yeah. They’re– They’re really funny.
L(laughing): …as it turns out…hehehaha…
B: So it’s an opposite universe.
B: They’re also immensely popular.
B: Uh, you– I know that you’re a guy who seems to be comfortable with science, and you don’t mind doing the research. Uh, where do you see this headed for us other than 1999? I mean, they are developing virtual realities all round the world.
B: What do you envision in the future we’re going actually be able to do?
B: I mean, already, there are suits that you can put on where you can simulate sex with somebody on the other side of the computer, you know–
B: But, I mean, now are we going to get to a point where it’ll seem like we’re walking around in our house or going on a– driving a car or whatever.
C: Yeah. I think that will all happen, I think, in the not-too-distant future. Actually, I was just listening to something last night about artificial intelligence, and they said that machines will actually be voting pretty soon, and I bet you they’ll do a lot better job than us.
K: heheh. Well, that’s a little scary.
C(laughing): …it is scary.
K: Um, so– But the plotline in this is that there’s some kind of a killer… that he’s going after– Do you want to or not go into–
C: Yeah, I’ll tell you the whole thing. The whole thing is that there’s a guy named Santiago who’s gone into the game, and he’s a decorated combat veteran. He’s taken over Harsh Realm, and he’s going to become the sort of King of Harsh Realm. And they send Hobbes in to take him out, like a game, but what we realize is that Santiago actually wants to control– not just control Harsh Realm for his own purposes, uh, to control it, but because he wants to destroy the real world. If you will.
K: How different does the alternate universe look than the real universe on the TV show?
C: It looks exactly like it, except that– Imagine all the rules are taken away, and it’s survival of the fittest, uh, you know, the strongest survive.
K: What do you mean by all the rules are taken away? Like, they can… fly?
C: Well, there’s no, uh, government in place that– It’s really just, uh–
C: It’s chaos, and, uh, this guy Santiago though, has created this emerald city. He actually has created a utopia, but you have to play by his rules. So he’s kind of a fuehrer, if you will.
K: That sounds great.
B: Will Kevin understand it at all?
C: It’s actually– it’s really easy. I think that some people think it’s difficult because it’s science fiction, and, uh, you know, once you get in to it, the rules are real simple.
K: If I don’t, can I call you and…
B: Chris Carter Cliff Notes?
B: Now what is– What’s the deal they’re doing? They got it on tonight, but then they also have it on Sunday night–
C: Yeah. They–
B: What is– What is your real time slot going to be?
C: Friday nights at nine, which is actually where the last three shows I’ve done have premiered, so, uh–
K: Isn’t that a tough time slot?
C: It’s a tough time slot because, uh, a lot of people go out on that night.
C: So you have to really– You can’t steal an audience, you really got to build an audience.
K: Why do they keep giving you Friday night at nine?
C: Well, you know, I–
K: Is it a curse?
C(laughing): It’s a blessing and a curse.
B: It seems like you’ve earned the time slot that you want.
C: Yeah. But it’s– It’s not a bad time slot. It really is, uh– We did well with The X-Files, and when we went to Sundays, we became this giant hit.
C: Uh, but, uh…
K: So you should say this time, “Hey, I want to be on Sunday.”
C: Well, you know, I’m– I’m happy to be here, and hopefully, we can do the same thing as X-Files.
B: Let me ask you about one more show because one of your friends is behind this “Roswell”.
B: One of the guys who worked on The X-Files.
C: David Nutter.
B: When I saw that show this week– It was so X-Files-like. I don’t know if you’ve had the opportunity to watch it or not, but, man, it seems like a show that you should have been doing.
C: Uh… heheh. M-Maybe.
B: Did you like it? Did you see it?
C: You know, I saw the beginning of it. Uh, and I read the script, so, um, I knew what the subject matter–
B: The kid walks in. He’s an alien and heals someone by putting his hand on her, on her wound, and I thought, well, doesn’t that look familiar.
K: Hey, I saw that on The X-Files.
C: Season Three.
B: Have we seen that before?
B: It’s weird. And I don’t know if it has anything to do with what you were talking about a little bit ago about the pre-millennium tension that seems to be in the air, but people seem to really be in to sci-fi right now.
B: I mean, it seems like a great time for the genre because you could have gone a lot of years on television schedules in this country, and there wouldn’t have been any shows about science fiction.
K: That’s true.
B: And now it seems like, thanks to the success of The X-Files, that there are a bunch of shows that are out there that are doing it for who like this sort of thing, so “Harsh Realm” is coming at a good time, I guess.
C: Uh, I hope so. I mean, it’s more science fiction than I’ve ever done, so, uh, it’s– It’s something new for me.
K: Does it feel weird to you to be named Time Magazine’s, like, one of the Most– What was it? One of the Most– 25 Most Influential People?
C: Yes. Heheh.
K: Is that just like–
C: Yeah. I–heh–
L: …cause he’s out surfing in the morning.
K(laughing): Yeah, you know, what the hell.
C: It’s weird.
K: Do you pick– You know, do you pick up chicks and stuff with that?
K: Time! Time Magazine! I need a table! Time Magazine!
B: How many copies of that do you have in your truck right now that you need to pass out, know what I mean?
K: Front of the line! Disneyland, front of the line! Time Magazine!
B: Chris, by the way, is going to be doing a live chat for folks who have their own questions for him. Certainly, you can do a better interview than we can. Uh, that’s going to be next Friday at 7 o’clock on www.fox.com. That’s next Friday. And your birthday is next week too, Chris.
B: What are you going to be doing for that?
C: Uh… (laughing)Nothing.
B: Just working, aren’t you–
C: Work, like every year.
K: …man, oh man… Well, you know what fans we are of you, and we don’t just say that cause you’re sitting in the room. We always support your shows. We always talk about them cause they’re really quality television. We’re going to be tuning in tonight, 9 o’clock, for “Harsh Realm”. And, as usual, we thank you for coming into the studio today.
GA: Hi, this is Gillian Anderson from ‘The X-Files’ with a warning from the government. If you listen to the Kevin and Bean show, you will die. Good luck.